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[1238b] [1] It is also possible for a bad man to be friends with a good man, for the bad man may be useful to the good man for his purpose at the time-and the good man to the uncontrolled man for his purpose at the time and to the bad man for the purpose natural to him; and he will wish his friend what is good—wish absolutely things absolutely good, and under a given condition things good for him, as poverty or disease may be beneficial: things good for him he will wish for the sake of the absolute goods, in the way in which he wishes his friend to drink medicine—he does not wish the action in itself but wishes it for the given purpose. Moreover a bad man may also be friends with a good one in the ways in which men not good may be friends with one another: he may be pleasant to him not as being bad but as sharing some common characteristic, for instance if he is musical. Again they may be friends in the way in which there is some good in everybody (owing to which some men are sociable1 even though good), or in the way in which they suit each particular person, for all men have something of good.

These then are three kinds of friendship; and in all of these the term friendship in a manner indicates equality, for even with those who are friends on the ground of goodness the friendship is in a manner based on equality of goodness.

But another variety of these kinds is friendship on a basis of superiority, as in that of a god for a man, [20] for that is a different kind of friendship, and generally of a ruler and subject; just as the principle of justice between them is also different, being one of equality proportionally but not of equality numerically.2 The friendship of father for son is in this class, and that of benefactor for beneficiary. And of these sorts of friendship themselves there are varieties: the friendship of father for son is different from that of husband for wife—the former is friendship as between ruler and subject, the latter that of benefactor for beneficiary. And in these varieties either there is no return of affection or it is not returned in a similar way. For it would be ludicrous if one were to accuse God because he does not return love in the same way as he is loved, or for a subject to make this accusation against a ruler; for it is the part of a ruler to be loved, not to love, or else to love in another way. And the pleasure differs; the pleasure that a man of established position has in his own property or son and that which one who lacks them feels in an estate or a child coming to him are not one and the same. And in the same way also in the case of those who are friends for utility or for pleasure—some are on a footing of equality, others one of superiority. Owing to this those who think they are on the former footing complain if they are not useful and beneficial in a similar manner; and also in the case of pleasure.3 This is clear in cases of passionate affection, for this is often a cause of combat between the lover and his beloved: the lover does not see that they have not the same reason for their affection. Hence Aenicus4 has said: "A loved one so would speak, but not a lover." But they think that the reason is the same.

1 i.e. ready to associate with all and sundry, regardless of moral inferiority. But perhaps the Greek should be altered to give 'some (bad men) might be worthy to associate with, even in the judgement of a good man,' or 'some might be worthy to associate with even though not good.'

2 Between two unequal persons justice divides benefits in proportion to their deserts, so that the two shares are not equal to each other but each equal to its recipient's merit. The word ἴσον itself connotes 'fair,' just, reasonable.

3 i.e. they complain if the pleasure or benefit they get from their friend is not equal (absolutely, not merely in proportion to a supposed difference of merit) to that which they give to him.

4 A dramatist of the Old Comedy.

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